Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry data

Hillier, J. K. and Watts, A. B. (2007) Global distribution of seamounts from ship-track bathymetry data. Geophysical Research Letters, 34 (13). L13304. ISSN 0094-8276 DOI 10.1029/2007GL029874

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Abstract

The distribution of submarine volcanoes, or seamounts, reflects melting within the Earth and how the magma generated ascends through the overlying lithosphere. Globally (±60° latitude), we use bathymetry data acquired along 39.5 x 106 km of ship tracks to find 201,055 probable seamounts, an order of magnitude more than previous counts across a wider height-range (0.1 < h < 6.7 km). In the North Pacific, seamounts' spatial distribution substantially reflects ridge-crest conditions, variable on timescales of 10 s of Ma and along-ridge distances of ∼1,000 km, rather than intra-plate hot-spot related volcanic activity. In the Atlantic, volcano numbers decrease, somewhat counter-intuitively, towards Iceland suggesting that abundant under-ridge melt may deter the formation of isolated volcanoes. Neither previously used empirical curve (exponential or power-law) describes the true size-frequency distribution of seamounts. Nevertheless, we predict 39 + 1 x 103 large seamounts (h > 1 km), implying that ∼24,000 (60%) remain to be discovered.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2007 AREP IA54 2007 P
Subjects: 05 - Petrology - Igneous, Metamorphic and Volcanic Studies
02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Divisions: 02 - Geodynamics, Geophysics and Tectonics
Journal or Publication Title: Geophysical Research Letters
Volume: 34
Page Range: L13304
Identification Number: 10.1029/2007GL029874
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 16 Feb 2009 13:02
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:07
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/379

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